Reflections on Congregations in R3 Renewal

With 23 congregations in our synodical R3 renewal initiative, we share with you some things we have learned about our congregations so far:

  • Three out of four people (more than 75% ) in our congregations are having multiple, meaningful spiritual conversations throughout the year.
  • One in five people who regularly participate in worship invite people to church several times per year. A few (7%) invite at least one person per month.
  • We have found other characteristics of thriving congregations include a clear sense of vision and mission for the purpose and direction of the congregation, and, leadership that inspires others to use their gifts in ministry.

Renewal: What Does This Mean For Our Life Together?At our 2017 Assembly, we invited the Lower Susquehanna Synod into deeper spiritual and congregational renewal. The heart of renewal is nurturing deeper relationships with God, one other and our communities by faithfully participating in what God is already up to in the world.

Renewal comes in many forms – a covenanted apprenticeship model (like our synod’s R3 equipping initiative), intentional conversations outside the church walls to better understand the spiritual needs of our communities to daily reflections on where we see God active and present in the world. Rather than a “one size fits all” process, renewal faithfully responds to Jesus’ call to make disciples of all nations. We take this call very seriously.

As leaders in our synod, we have begun intentional renewal as well. Similar to the congregational R3 apprentice model, with the support of an outside accountability coach, we will form a synodical renewal team and covenant to discern the needs of those we serve so we can faithfully adapt to the changing realities of synodical ministry. We ask for your prayerful support and patience while we engage renewal internally and externally.

As we continue to encounter the risen Christ through the spiritual feast of the Kingdom, may our hearts and minds be renewed for the sake of the gospel.

Yours in Christ,
James S. Dunlop, bishop
Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA


More information about renewal in the Lower Susquehanna Synod